Do You Have A Nose For Discernment? 

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Song of Songs 7:4 Watchman Nee

Thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus…

“The nose has not been spoken of until now. The faculty of smell is found only with the mature ones. In spiritual matters, many have bright eyes and sensitive ears. But not many have a nose that can smell. This sense does not come from spoken words or visible things; it is an inward ability that reaches beyond senses and words, which enables a person to differentiate good and bad smells. This is a kind of spiritual intuition that enables a person to identify the things that are of God. It is not by reason or logic, but by a spontaneous and inwardly accurate feeling, which enables a person to discern spiritual matters. At the same time, this olfactory sense enables a person to identify bad smells as well. Many teachings cannot be considered wrong, and many people have nothing that others can find fault with, yet you sense that something is off. This sense is what the nose is all about. “Thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus.” This speaks of its height and sharpness. Today there are too many Christians with a flat nose.” (End Watchman Nee)

Dogs have got really good noses. They use their noses to detect whether or not something is good or not. I’m often amazed at how their sense of smell is so acute. In observing our dogs the other day I couldn’t help but notice the correlation between their sense of smell and our spiritual sense of smell in learning discernment.

Our dogs really make me laugh.  Rocky is almost 8 years old. Buddy (who belongs to my mother) is about 3. Their age difference really shows in their different behaviours.

Rocky is all about smooches, one-on-one time, even if playing with the ball he’d prefer it was just him and me playing. You might say he has two love languages – quality time and physical affection 🙂

Buddy is all about activity! If it looks like a smooch, it’s really a wrestle. If it looks like one-on-one time, it’s really just to get to play ball. Perhaps his love language is …acts of service! – or maybe quality time aswell.

Typical of the age difference, when Buddy came along he was completely ready to attach to Rocky and pal up with him. But Rocky was stand-offish and preferred to observe from a distance, lol. But now, after a few years together, they’re really good mates. Looking at their differences as a pup and an adult dog, just prompted me the other day in seeing how we  grow and mature in the Lord.

For example, I picked up a mandarin and the two dogs were looking at me with great interest. Rocky cries a lot to communicate all sorts of things and Buddy just follows and copies Rocky a lot. So, although they were standing at the door to go out, I figured they were now side tracked with the interest of the mandarin. So I lowered it in my hand to their level for them to check it out and realise that it wasn’t really a food they would be interested in since it had a tough skin all over it.

Typical of Rocky as the older dog, he gave it a little sniff and then looked away. This meant “Ok, nuh, not interested, you can have it back now”. But not Buddy! He took one look at it and wrapped his mouth around it to grab and chew it – clearly thinking it was a ball! After a few teeth squeezes and squeals from me, he backed off but then came back for another go. It took him a few tries before he realised “Ok, it’s really not a ball? Really??” Then I said “Go! Go and get your ball!” And off he went, and grabbed the real ball.

This made me think of us as God’s family. We start off as pups just like Buddy in the way that we don’t often test things. We kind of take whatever is offered us as young or immature Christians (regardless of age) and just assume it’s good for us and what we want and that it’ll be just totally awesome.  Mostly, because we trust the person who’s handing it to us. Selah. Even after a few goes, even when it doesn’t feel quite right to us, we’ll still just blindly assume that it’s just still gotta be totally awesome and we’ll put up with it or persist with it until hopefully, we finally get the message that it really isn’t as it appears.

I’ve seen this in my own life. Critical thinking was something I was afraid of once. In the culture I was brought up in, one doesn’t question, does one? So I blindly took on many things that really weren’t truth, or complete truth, without question. But get this….even if they didn’t feel quite right.  So there’s the Spirit of God residing in me, encouraging and enabling me to test all things, but the paradigm of my culture would squash Him down and ignore Him, assuming blindly in my spiritual immaturity that because someone I look up to ‘said’, or because it looks similar to something else, that it just simply has to be totally awesome. And it wasn’t always.

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world (1 John 4:1).

So then there’s Rocky. Dear old Rocky. Wise and learned, been there, done that. He just took his time, sniffed that mandarin (mind you, it only took one sniff, not a dozen) and knew instinctively that it was not a ball and not anything he was going to have success with or be interested in. This reminded me of the more mature believer.  God’s word says to test all things, test the spirit behind them. We’re called to be wise and discerning, in Christ.  Paul says we are not ignorant to the enemy’s schemes – one of them of-course, being deception.

…in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11)

Rocky didn’t argue, he didn’t have to think about it twice. So there’s the picture of the Holy Spirit in us again. The more we mature in the Lord (and the maturing is the work of the Spirit in us, we can’t mature ourselves), the quicker we are able to discern the spirit behind a thing. Subsequently, having done so, if we find it is a deception, not what it appeared to be at first glance, we easily walk away. We don’t even have to give it a second thought.

The other thing I liked about this little example, is the fact that the same tests are put before all believers, no matter the level of spiritual maturity. A more mature believer is not exempt from testing permitted or orchestrated by our sovereign Lord for our growing up deeper into Him, nor is he or she exempt from being tempted by the devil. But a mature believer will weigh up all things.

So, that’s my lesson today from the lives of dogs. Here’s a little video clip just to share a giggle.:-)

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2 thoughts on “Do You Have A Nose For Discernment? 

  1. Yes and amen!
    And Buddy, the younger believer, was uninterested in learning from Rocky’s, the older believer’s, experience and discernment. He, like young believers, figured the old dog didn’t know what he was doing, so instead of asking advice or seeking council, he snubbed the seasoned saint and kept trying to figure it out on his own. (and sometimes we have to go through certain things in order to mature)
    And Rocky, the older believer, didn’t try to force his experience or discernment on the uninterested (in the experience) Buddy, the younger believer. Another sign of maturity. (had Buddy been interested in what the old saint knew – sought council – then Rocky could’ve communicated more to him)

    Thanks for sharing!

    Like

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